ATP US OPen: Novak Djokovic tops Denis Kudla to leave Pete Sampras behind

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ATP US OPen: Novak Djokovic tops Denis Kudla to leave Pete Sampras behind

World no. 1 and the defending US Open champion Novak Djokovic is through to the third round in New York for the 12th straight year, ousting Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and two minutes. Djokovic's fans were more concerned about the shape of his shoulder than Kudla, as the Serb arrived late at the complex and had some troubles with injury during the last practice session before stepping on the Arthur Ashe Stadium where he played well in the pivotal moments to leave the rival behind and earn the 72nd victory in New York.

Novak did his best to spray his rival all over the court, delivering some great angles and finishing the encounter with 34 winners and 31 unforced errors, fending off all seven break chances and scoring four on the other hand to cross the finish line in straight sets and without wasting too much energy on the court.

Novak broke in the fourth game of the match after an entertaining rally, placing a volley winner near Kudla to move 3-1 up, fending off a couple of break points in game seven and closing the opener with a hold at love in the ninth game for a 6-3 after 36 minutes.

The second set saw Novak hitting more unforced errors than winners but was safe again, wasting a couple of chances in game three before stealing Kudla's serve next time around for a 3-2 lead when Denis netted a forehand.

Serving at 5-3, Djokovic repelled two break points with service winners and grabbed the set with a service winner in the tenth game for two sets to love lead after 82 minutes, hoping for more of the same in set number three.

There, he broke Kudla in the first game with a forced error, staying unbroken in the next game and repelling another break point in the sixth game with a backhand crosscourt winner that kept him safe. Denis lost serve in the next game to send Novak 5-2 up before the Serb sealed the deal with four quick points in game eight to book the spot in the last 16.